Monday, November 28, 2011

Vintage Wallet Inserts

An unused but apparently vintage wallet I recently picked up included two wallet-sized pieces of extremely cheap paper printed extremely cheaply with various features, warranties, seals, and an ID “card.” I scanned in the four images:

Finest in Leather

The American Designer Award for Finest in Leather. Impressive! Something tells me that perhaps there was no such thing, nor was there an entity called the “Leather Industries of America,” but perhaps I am being too cynical.

Leather Wallet Warranty

I guess the warranty is as to the materials, not the workmanship or construction. If the wallet falls apart in a couple weeks, that's on you, buster.

(Two months in, the wallet seems to be holding together fine.)

Replaceable Windows

Now, where to find these “additional windows”...

Identification Card (Approved)

Good to know that this is an “Approved” identification card. Or is it the bearer of the card who has been approved? And “card” is a stretch. These inserts are printed on some of the flimsiest paper I've ever encountered, several notches below newsprint.

In the vital stats section: Blood type. Good thinking, I guess.

Notice how the “Zip” is in a slightly different typeface? Looks like Helvetica regular as opposed to the condensed sans-serif used for the address blanks. (Typographers: In the condensed font, I notice that the a, y, and r have distinctively curved elements. Is this maybe the special font that Bell developed for phone books, designed to be legible at extremely small sizes? ) The addition of the “Zip” later on indicates that the original design of the insert dates from the pre-zip-code era, that is, before the early 1960s, but that the wallet itself is newer than that.

Basic standards of tomfoolery would of course require one to write in “Federal Bureau of Investigation” in the “Employed by” blank.

Maybe not the best idea nowadays to just give out your SSN to the random stranger who finds your wallet.


Lord John Whorfin said...

So funny. I've had a couple of old wallets (hand-me-downs) over the years, and they always had the little paper identification card, too. Though not as detailed as yours...

Randy Divinski said...

On "Zip" being in a different font. On a computer, this would happen because the font used for the words on the left has an underline character that leaves space between each character -- creating a dashed line instead of one connected line. Switching to a different font to solve this, the letters for Zip where taken from that font instead of the original. (This was probably done by some non-computer method, but similar process.)

desmoinesdem said...

I wouldn't have split "coated" as "coa-ted." Put the whole word on the next line, or if absolutely necessarily, "coat-ed."

desmoinesdem said...

There is indeed a Leather Industries of America trade association:

Leather Industries of America, one of the oldest trade
associations in the United States, has represented
the American tanner and supplier since 1917.

For over 85 years, Leather Industries of America (LIA)
has served its members and been an effective force
in representing the leather industry of America. LIA
provides environmental, technical, education, statistical
and marketing services -- all at the direction of its
membership and to the benefit of the leather industry.

Sharing your cynicism about the "American Designer Award," though. I bet that wasn't a competitive thing--perhaps any paying member of the Leather Industry Association could put that label on their goods.

C - Log said...

Yup, especially since the Warranty statement was agnostic as to the type of leather used in the wallet:

"For the outside cover, high quality leather of the particular type stamped on this article." (Emphasis added.)

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